Planning Process: What Will We Strive To Be In 2025?

Worship And Word

At Christ Lutheran Church our worship and study of the Word actively strengthens our faith in Christ, strengthen our relationships with one another in His family, and reaches into our community.

 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods. Psalm 95:1-3

Members In Mission

Christ Lutheran Church is connecting with people where they are to share our source of joy.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”     John 13:34-35

Joyful In Community

At Christ Lutheran Church, we family throughout all generations by inviting friends to church and community activities that entertain, offer help, and build relationships.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”



Three Mission Areas

Worship and Word

Members in Mission

Joyful in Community

Steps We Are Taking Right Now


  1. Reflecting on our Gifts
  2. The Challenge of Growth
  3. Where Are We Now?


Hello, Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  The purpose of the “Plan” is to communicate the thinking, beliefs and understanding of our Planning Team on how we will trust and honor God in this place for the coming months, through December 2022.  This is the product of the planning process started in August of 2020, facilitated by Pastor Walther of the Michigan District office.

To be clear, it is not our responsibility to make numerical benchmarks to judge our performance.  It is our responsibility to seek God’s guidance in using the resources we are blessed with and to define the steps we believe will please Him, and lead to growth.

1 Cor 3:5-7 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  

Then we work hard following His lead, trust that He will bless the result and vow to rejoice in the Lord throughout the process.   We call this being CHRIST’S PEOPLE PROCLAIMING CHRIST’S LOVE.

The Three Mission Areas were developed by a team effort (and lightly edited later).  They represent the three focused areas that everything else belongs to:  Worship And Word, Members In Mission, and Joyful In Community.  Note that the school is part of the Members In Mission area as it is a mission of the church. The planning exercise was to describe the Church as we will be in 2025.  It is aspirational as we have not achieved many of the descriptions.  The church we are today is described in Appendix C, Where Are We Now?

The Steps We Are Taking Right Now section describes the activities we believe are needed to take to be more like the church we want to be in 2025, than the church we were in 2020.  One purpose of this is to align the Boards, Officers, and all members with a common purpose and understanding.

Finally, we must discuss growth.  It is our nature to seek to be bigger and better next year.  It is tempting to set out step by step processes that will set targets for more members, more worshipers, more students and more of everything.  But we are called to follow His lead, do the work necessary for growth and trust in His blessings.

These items need specific discussion:

  • Worship attendance – naturally, our desire is that worship attendance will increase over time.  We will continue our divine worship format and teach all who are interested the history and significance of this service.
  • School student population – likewise, our desire is to have larger class sizes, more children of members as students, and maintain a high standard of education centered squarely on Christ as our Savior.
  • Bible study opportunities – we must continue and increase the faith building discipleship opportunities to members and friends of the congregation of all ages.
  • Community Activities – we will intentionally host events that will draw the community to our property or facility and engage with those visitors in a way to create deep and long-lasting relationships.  A demographic profile showed that in 2020, there were 7,800 unchurched adults living within two miles of our facility.
  • Member care and support – we will continue to care and love one another as the family of God.

The three Mission areas of our church are inter-connected:

  • As we intentionally draw the community here and create relationships, our desire is that the church will grow. Some of this growth may lead to more members with students in the school.
  • As we communicate the unique value of Christian education at Christ Lutheran, our desire is that the school population will increase. This increase may lead to more families joining the church.
  • As we provide Bible Study opportunities relevant to a variety of interest levels, faith will grow in members and friends of the congregation.
  • As we care for one another, and for those in our community, we will show everyone we are Christians by our love.

Through this planning cycle, there will be an emphasis on community outreach.  We have just finished more than eighteen months of serious health issues causing serious financial and social disruption.  We do not know what the next eighteen months hold related to the pandemic, international issues, or other domestic issues.  But we do know that we have been commanded to take the Gospel message of Good News through Jesus Christ to our neighbors and throughout the world.  That is why we will GO.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

We are told to GO!  We were not told to GO when it’s easy.  Or, to Go when it’s safe.  But simply to Go.  We Go in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  We Go with the comfort that Jesus is with us ALWAYS.  May His will be done.  To God be the Glory!

Three Mission Areas

 By 2025 We Will


As Christ’s body, at Christ Lutheran Church, through our regular and eager worship and study of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit strengthens the faith of children, youth, and adults in their personal connection with Jesus and with one another in the family of faith, empowering us to use our gifts in service to Him and one another in our community.

  • Average worship attendance and participation in study opportunities are increasing annually.
  • Families are worshipping, learning, and fellowshipping with other families of the church and community.
  • The ministry of Christ Lutheran School is valued within the congregation and the community.
  • There are study opportunities provided for all ages (members and non-members) to grow in faith, in understanding of Lutheran doctrine, and in faithful living.

Steps Boards are taking right now through December 31, 2022

Worship And Word

Step # Step Responsible
1 Law and Gospel worship and Bible Study Elders, Pastor
2 Continue to evolve our online ministries Tech, Pastor, Prin, Elders
3 Scheduling of students to participate in worship leadership such as doing scripture readings (need pastoral/elder approval) Ed, Prin
4 Have a Sunday School curriculum available for students available Ed, Prin
5 Develop discipleship Bible Study offerings to appeal to learners with varied interests and faith levels Ed, Elder, Pastor
6 Add full or part-time ministry support staff – Pastor, DCE, other as the Lord leads (PT budgeted beginning Q1 2022) Elders, Pastor
7 Connect with members who have not returned due to Covid Elders


As Christ’s body, Christ Lutheran Church is actively connecting with people so that we may share our source of hope and joy in the God of love and mercy through our words and action – with one another, within our community, and into our world.

  • Encouragement to and equipping in sharing one’s faith (lifestyle evangelism) is regularly provided.
  • An increasing number of members are regularly inviting family, friends, and neighbors to worship and other activities and events.
  • An increasing number of members are participating in community-based outreach activities.
  • All communication from Christ Lutheran Church and School to the local community (newspaper, radio, electronic, social media, etc.) includes a message of hope and caring in the name of Jesus.
  • We seek to have an increasing number of children and adults are being Baptized.
  • Members are involved in addressing the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of our local community, our nation, and our world.
  • Christ Lutheran Church appropriately joins in opportunities to participate with other congregations and community agencies in caring for those in need.

Members In Mission

Steps Boards are taking right now through December 31, 2022

Step # Step Responsible
1 Assure regular updates via technology and other media (electronic sign) concerning CLS ministry Ed, PR
2 Build small group ministries for Families, Children, Youth, and other common interest groups with events to have fun and grow spiritually Fellow, Assim, Evan, Youth, All
3 Develop events to promote relationships that are educational and/or entertaining for members and friends Fellow, Assim, Evan, All
4 Collections for food pantry All
5 Quarterly family-oriented group events Fellow


As Christ’s body, at Christ Lutheran Church, we are a caring and loving community, we family throughout all generations by inviting friends to church and community activities that offer hope and help, encourage and entertain, and build healthy relationships. 

  • Each event at Christ Lutheran Church celebrates the unity we have as the family of God.
  • Members are fostering caring relationships within the congregation.
  • Members are praying publicly and privately for one another, for fellow believers in Christ, and for unbelievers.
  • Christ Lutheran Church regularly encourages and provides opportunities for fellowship and community, both in person and via technology and other means.
  • Christ Lutheran Church regularly provides training, tools, and opportunity to demonstrate care to those of all ages in need.
  • Each member of Christ Lutheran Church is regularly challenged and encouraged to use their gifts in serving others.

Steps Boards are taking right now through December 31, 2022

              Joyful In Community

Step # Step Responsible
1 Invite the friends, relatives, and the community to special events and to worship Evan, All
2 Develop methods of communication with members and friends to keep the church and School top of mind and integrated into their lives (Includes new Church Management software) Comm, PR, Tech
3 Continue and increase community support missions such as: Soup Kitchen, Benton Harbor Ministries, etc. At Large
4 Pine Ridge visiting and ministry School, Evan, All
5 Create a directory of hobbies and interests Assim

Ed –             Board of Education

Elders –       Board of Elders

Prop –         Board of Properties

Stew –         Board of Stewardship

Youth –       Board of Youth

Assim –       Board of Assimilation

Fellow –       Board of Fellowship

Evan –         Board of Evangelism

PR –             Board of Public Relations

Pastor –       Pastor Measel

Prin –           Principal Webb

Tech –          Technology Team

Comm         Special committee for this task

At large –    Groups like LWML, PTL, Men’s NetWork

REFLECTING ON OUR GIFTS                 Appendix A

Identify Our Assets

1 Corinthians 12:4-7.  There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

God gives gifts to his church.  Those gifts can take many forms.  They can be talents, abilities, or they can be physical (such as buildings, land, etc.)  What often happens is that we fail to see all that God gives us in order to do the work He would have us do.  Assets are defined as useful or valuable qualities.  Luther Snow, in The Power of Asset Mapping:  How Your Congregation Can Act on Its Gifts, provides some guidance to recognize the assets in a congregation.  Discuss the questions and write down your responses to the items that follow:

Physical Assets – What are physical resources that Christ Lutheran Church has?

Facilities (barrier free)

14 acres of land

Location (lakeshore)

Organ / instruments


Safe building



Bells (outside)


Office and equipment



Adequate parking

Close to highway / accessibility

Individual Assets – What are some talents that are available in Christ Lutheran Church?












Health care / medical

Trustworthy staff



Cooks for funerals

Ladies group

Men’s Network

Lay leaders



CLS Angels (sanitize building / deliver food)

** ”I can’t think of anything that I would need help with that I couldn’t find someone here at Christ Lutheran to ask” **

Associated Assets – List some of the businesses, institutions and organizations in the community.

“Flour Shop” (Minister of pastries)

Public schools

Metal shop

Soup kitchen

Lakeshore / beaches




Cook Nuclear Power Plant

Lakeland Hospital



Lake Michigan College


Senior PGA Championship

Krasl Art Fair



Music Club / groups

Community Players

Pine Ridge

Lincoln Township

Law enforcement

Health department

Financial Assets – What are some of the resources that Christ Lutheran Church has?  What resources exist that have not been tapped?

Generous individuals

Memorial funds

Accountants donate gifts


Church Extension Fund


Public grants

Community foundations

District grants

Collective Assets – What things does Chris Lutheran Church do well?  Those things combine physical, individual and financial assets.  They become assets of the congregation.

CLS Nationally Accredited

Christ-centered focus


Harmonious relationships

Effective well-rounded education of children through school and across generations in the church

Care of facilities

Cooperate with “neighbors”

Clean up Silver Beach

Soup Kitchen

Reputation in the community

Do rather than talk (active faith vs. passive faith)

** How to connect those not connected by family or time (assimilation)?

The Challenge of Growth in Faith and in Fellowship      Appendix B

 We are Created to Grow in Faith and Fellowship

 God is the source of all growth

1 Cor 3:5-7 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  

John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

2 Cor 9:10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

Growth can be painful

John 15:2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Growth facilitates more growth

Matt 25:29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

Growth is necessary

Matt 25:27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.

Growth is a mindset

Prov 16:3Commit your work to the Lord,  and your plans will be established.

Matt 9:28-29  When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.”

Growth is a mandate

Gen 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Hindrances to Growth in Faith and in Fellowship

Accepting the Status Quo, mediocrity mindset

Gen 30:31b  Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this for me, I will again pasture your flock and keep it

Lack of knowledge (Confidence)

Prov 4:7-8 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight.
 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.

Inadequate work ethic

2 Thes 3: 10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

Lack of a strategy or a system

Luke 14:28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

Lack of counsel or bad counsel

Prov 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Unwillingness to face pain

John 15:2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.


2 Tim 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Purpose of growth in Faith and in Fellowship

Bring Glory to God

Is 35:1-22The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

Meet needs

2 Cor 8: 13-14 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.

To sustain the Church

Col 1:24-26 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,  of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,  the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.

Where are we now?            Appendix C

Here are the collective thoughts of members who attended our planning session on Oct 1, 2020.  Think of this as a “where are we as a church right now” statement.

What kind of church is Christ Lutheran Church?



Bible teaching



Proclaim Law/Gospel

High Liturgical (chant)


Old average age

A school with a church

Law followed by Gospel


Wonderful God-fearing people

Mission minded (local and foreign)

Great music ministry




Comfortable with who we are and how we do things

What kind of people does Christ Lutheran Church attract?

Desiring truth of God’s Word

Traditional Lutherans

Working class

Families desiring school

Already believers

Desiring consistency in teaching

Deeply rooted believers

What kind of people may not be comfortable at Christ Lutheran Church?

Those who want the Word to bend to their lifestyle

Young families who aren’t connected to the school

Those desiring contemporary style

Those who did not grow up Lutheran, especially liturgical style of worship

Those young in the faith

What is Christ Lutheran Church’s perceived purpose?

Proclaiming the Gospel

School (reason location began)

Remain LCMS

For some worship (and that’s it)

For some activities – school and such (but not necessarily worship)

Provide Christian care throughout life’s journey

20 years ago: discipleship and outreach identified as twin purposes

How is the balance between outreach and nurture at Christ Lutheran Church?

20% to 30% outreach / 80 to 70% nurture (including school impact)